Roasted Cauliflower with Saffron ♥ Recipe

An interesting way to 'spice up' roasted cauliflower
Today's vegetable recipe: Cauliflower roasted with saffron and spices. Low carb. Weight Watchers 1 point.

So. I'm learning a lot about vegetables these days, though -- get this -- by eating, no tasting, no, positively hating oxtails. (Note to Vegetarians)

It all started before Christmas when my friend Sharon had a recipe calling for oxtails and wanted to know what they were. My answer -- and I was wrong, to be sure -- was that oxtails were actually not the tails from beef cattle, even if the words made you think so, sort of like a rump roast is actually a shoulder roast. (Go figure.)

But then last week, oxtail stew was on the tasting menu at a local restaurant and -- being an adventurous eater -- I placed my order, looking forward to a delicacy. But OH MY. YUCK.YUCK.YUCK. Now to be fair, the thinking is that the oxtails were no good, past their due date, shall we say. But with one bite, I was ready to gag and now, even nearly a week later, anything remotely close to unusual is creating the same reaction.

And what does this have to do with vegetables?

Let's say you have a bad experience with frozen Brussels sprouts (or canned asparagus or creamed-all-vegetables or ...). I GET IT. I get that you might not want to try Brussels sprouts again. It's almost reflexive, a defense mechanism of some sort. I get that it could take both time and conditioning to become open-minded again.

Those of us who love vegetables, we understand that 99% of the time, our vegetables are just delicious. If something's not to our taste, we've got enough experience to know that something was off, that the next batch of whatever will be good. But if 100% of your experience is that oxtails Brussels sprouts are rotten stinky things? Well, I get it. It's hard to work up the gumption to return.

You will, I think, return again and again to roasted cauliflower, especially the roasted cauliflower made on this site's very first day, almost four years ago now. This treatment uses both a saffron-warmed olive oil and a splash of good vinegar. It's YUM not yuck.


Hands-on time: 10 minutes up-front plus occasional stirring
Time to table: 45 minutes
Serves 4

1 tablespoon olive oil
Pinch of saffron

1 head cauliflower, cored and cut into small florets
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar (or another flavorful, gentle vinegar)
1 teaspoon dried spices (curry, ras el hanout, I used thyme)
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 400F. Combine the oil and saffron in a small bowl, place on top of the oven near the heat source so that the saffron will warm and its flavor will be transferred into the oil.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, toss the remaining ingredients. Just before the oven is preheated, add the warm olive oil and toss well with a spatula. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet and let roast for about 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so, or until the cauliflower reaches the desired doneness. Transfer to a serving dish, serve and enjoy!

It's easier to use less oil for roasting vegetables when they're tossed for the first time in a large bowl, rather than drizzled and then tossed on the baking sheet itself.
That said, for roasted cauliflower to be really good, darn it, more than a tablespoon of oil is needed, much as I wish otherwise, two or three or even four tablespoons.

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Looking for healthy ways to cook vegetables? A Veggie Venture is home to hundreds of quick, easy and healthful vegetable recipes and the famous Alphabet of Vegetables. Healthy eaters will love the low carb recipes and the Weight Watchers recipes.
© Copyright 2009

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. I am addicted to roasted cauliflower because the crispy bits are softer than popcorn but provide a lengthier chew and, in my opinion, way more flavor (I think about cruciferous vegetables too much)

  2. i freaking love roasted cauliflower. recently tried it curried and almost died.

  3. I love cauliflower too! I have a jar of saffron I bought at Trader Joe's but didn't know what to do with it. I'll try this :)

  4. I've been wanting to try roasted cauliflower AND I've been wanting to try saffron - LUCKY ME! Thank you Alanna!

    p.s. I would definitely pass on ox tails - have always thought they'd have a "strong" flavor...

  5. i was just unimpressed with steamed cauli for dinner last night, and now i don't have to make it that way again. roasted cauli looks so delish, i wish i could pick it off the screen and try it.

  6. I love cauliflower and I love saffron! I never thought of trying them together. Do you have any hints for buying really good saffron? Is it always so expensive and how long does it stay fresh? Thanks,

  7. Oh Yum! Roasted Cauliflower is wonderful all on its own but with saffron? Now why didn't I think if that? And wouldn't it make a wonderful Valentine's Day side dish? Fragrant, exotic. Sounds good to me.

  8. I've roasted cauliflower with leeks and evoo but I'm definitely going to try this next time. Love the nutrition information- thanks!

  9. Your "OH MY. YUCK.YUCK.YUCK." made me LOL just imagining the expression on your face :D
    The cauliflower looks completely delicious.

  10. I adore cauliflower - roasted, steamed, au gratin (your method of au gratin with anchovies is a huge favourite of ours), barely parboiled in salad, etc, etc....

    This method is new to me though. Roasted with saffron, eh? And the cauliflower isn't too strong for the saffron?


    P.S. Not long ago, I had the absolute worst cauliflower ever - in a restaurant (we'll NEVER go back to that restaurant). The cauliflower had been steamed for so long that it was only its shape that identified it as cauliflower. Otherwise, it had been reduced to tasteless mush. What a shame!

  11. I love reading your recipes! I just wanted to pass along a tidbit.
    My 7-year old will reliably eat two veggies only- roasted caulflower and roasted brussels sprouts (how funny is that?!).I use frozen of both- I toss 'em in olive oil with garlic, throw them on a sprayed sheet, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and pop them in the toaster oven for a half hour. I don't even thaw them. Simple but it works! Our fresh veggie prices up here during winter are too darn high (though every once in a while I splurge and buy a bunch of asparagus- it's my veggie vice) so I use frozen.

    Thanks again for your wonderful recipes!

  12. Roasted cauliflower, is there anything better?

    Well perhaps roasted asparagus....mmm

    Nice recipe, and I'll be back to check out your next post!

  13. The story and the cauliflower are both glorious!

  14. Alanna, how could you not like oxtails? Do you not like beef short ribs? The taste is almost identical. Sounds like perhaps you were served something foul, but I rather doubt it was the cut. As for the anatomy, the tail vertebrae are just like any other marrow bone.

  15. On the Ox Tails, you just did not have them fixed right.
    Now if you want something good that I fixed yesterday, you need to boil a beef tongue, peel it, slice it and it is the most tender beef you have ever had, and they make great sandwiches. I googled beef tongue, and you would be surprised the numbers of people who still fix beef tongue!! By the way Roasted Cauliflower is great also!!

  16. Oh dear, you're being unfair to oxtail. Properly made, it's a delicious, flavoursome, meaty cut. Only discovered it few months ago, but have mae it few times since (as have our friends). Sorry your first encounter was such a miss..
    But cauliflower, yes, is nice. Especially when roasted (though we had simply boiled cauliflower with our grilled steak last night).


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna